(Original post by ali567149)
so how do you explain Germany?
They are busy decommissioning Nuclear plants and will have none by 2030.
The fact is we are working to reduce energy consumption not stay at the same level...with a lower demand for power a centralised power grid makes no common sense. Localised production and use has to be the future for power in the uk, with the larger demands for power from what ramins of heavy industry perhaps met by nuclear.
News flash, physics is NOT commons sense, it is in fact rather complicated ( which is why you need to study a bit to get a degree in it ). I'm a little to drunk at the moment to argue my point in detail, but suffice to say is that Germany's policy of decommissioning their perfectly usable reactors ( which cost them quite a bit to build I might add ) is absolutely utterly insane, and it is based on pure political populism rather than real science. De-centralised power productions sounds like a beautiful romantic goal, until you realise that small-scale wind turbines and solar panels are really rather ****, compared to the larger versions.
No, really, if you are absolutely going to go for wind power ( even thou it has a variable power output, unstable and unpredictable supply, high price as per kwh, and a range of other problems ) you should at least go with the most efficient type of wind power, and this happens to be fairly large turbines, and not roof-mounted tiny ones. No really, I'm not just talking out of my arse, a wind turbine's efficiency is limited by the aero dynamics of the propeller, and very simply put for any given area of propeller there is a maximum amount of energy output possible ( from purely physical fluid dynamic considerations, but there are engineering limits as well ) and the only feasible way to increase this output without changing the size of the propeller is to put the turbine in a location with more favourable wind conditions. Because these locations do not in general coincide with populated areas ( sometimes they do, but far from always ) the most efficient way to reduce the ohmic and capacitive losses in the electric distribution net is to transmit the energy using very high voltage ( high voltage gives a low current for the same electric power and thus lower ohmic losses ). As it happens, to extract large amounts of energy at a high voltage you need a fairly large turbine. In fact, the larger the better. At the moment this is limited by the materials used to construct the turbine, but basically , an efficient turbine looks something like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:E...opfinsel01.jpg
(Note that the image is from Germany, which you praise for it's wind power generation).
As for solar. Well, solar heating has some niche application (like in satellites where you don't want to go refuel a power plant ), but photo-voltaic for electricity generation is easily described with 4 letters c-r-a-p. Even at 100% efficiency ( which is physically impossible anyway, but never mind that ) a solar cell cannot output more energy than comes in to begin with, and this depends on the climate and weather. It can sort of work for some applications in Germany (thou wind power would produce more energy for the same price ), but for a country with England's climate it is simply a moronic idea. To deploy an electricity generation scheme with an output dependant on sunlight in a country famous for fog and rainfall is quite simply bad bad idea. Heck, in either case, if you wanted to use renewable energy sources, solar power is so expensive (as calculated in life-cycle costs) that you are better of using wind-power anyway.
So in summary, I could maybe, maybe see a case for using wind power for electricity generation, but it would definitely be with large efficient turbines rather than tiny ones, and solar power is just a bad idea since the money would be better spent on ANY other energy source, including rather pricey wind turbines. I'm fairly convinced judging from how you usually argue when this topic is brought up, that your opinion is more based on political ideology (i.e big centralised companies are evil, small individual generation is good ) than actual consideration of the feasibility of what you advocate. Incidentally there is one case where de-centralised generation can improve efficiency, and this is with de-centralised FOSSIL FUEL burner. The reason for this is that a fossil fuel generating plant wastes quite a bit of it's energy output as heat, but if you have it de-centralised you can use that heat to keep your house warm in district heating schemes. In general, however, there is NO inherent reason why de-centralised power generation shoudl be more efficient than centralised production. In contrast, because of various factors ( like the case with wind turbines I mentioned above ) larger plants can be built to be far more efficient ( due to economics of scale and a number of physical reasons, like favourable surface/area ratios for advanced power turbines ) and only the distribution is a side effect ( and the impact of this only about 10% on average anyway ).
But please, let me hear why centralised power production "makes no common sense". After posting here for almost half a year the best you have come up with is "it is less efficient" which quite simply isn't true for reasons I have outlined above. Really, if you know of any counter-intuitive reason why small-scale generation is more efficient, beyond the small amount of energy lost in the power grid, do tell me, because I sure haven't heard about it despite following this debate quite thoroughly.